Yosemite Insider FAQs
1. Can I drive my car into Yosemite?
Yes. You are encouraged to park in the Day Use parking areas and ride the free Hybrid Shuttle buses once you reach Yosemite Valley.
2. When does the park open?
The park is open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. However, entrance stations are not staffed 24 hours a day. Passes can be paid for either entering or exiting the Park.
3. What are the 'must see' places in Yosemite?
The main points of interest include the Yosemite Valley waterfalls, Half Dome, Mirror Lake, El Capitan, Glacier Point, Tuolumne Meadows, Wawona, and the giant sequoias.
4. Where are the waterfalls?
The major waterfalls can be seen in Yosemite Valley. The best time of year to view Yosemite's falls is late spring and early summer. This varies with the snow-pack and run-off each year.
5. Where are the giant sequoia trees?
There are three groves in Yosemite. The Mariposa Grove is near the south entrance on Hwy 41. The Tuolumne Grove is near Crane Flat off Hwy 120E and the Merced Grove is just north of Crane Flat off Hwy 120N.
6. Where is the famous, drive-through Wawona Tunnel Tree?
This famous tree is located in the Mariposa Grove. Unfortunately it fell during the heavy snow winter of 1968-69. Cars can no longer drive through any of the sequoia groves.
7. Where can I find a good place to fish?
In general, fishing is poor in Yosemite Valley. Fishing is generally better in the high country lakes and streams. Tuolumne Meadows is great for fly fishing.
8. Where can I take my pet?
Dogs and other pets must remain on a leash not longer than 6 feet at all times. They are allowed only on paved roads and bike paths. Out of respect for the wildlife and the trail-side habitat, pets are not allowed on hiking trails. Pet owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets.
9. Can I take this rock (cone, leaf, flower, etc.) home as a souvenir?
No. All natural objects should remain in the park as integral components of the natural ecosystem.
10. When are the wildflowers best?
Mid-March into April is the best time to see wild flowers in the foothills outside the park. Mid-June into August is best for wild flowers in Yosemite's higher elevations.
11. What does the word "Yosemite" mean?
"Yosemite" is derived from a Southern Miwok word "Yehemite," which translates "some among them are killers," which is probably how Mariposa-area Indians referred to the people who lived in Yosemite Valley. Many southern Miwok people in Yosemite intermarried with Paiute people from the eastern Sierra. Traditionally, Paiute and Miwok were enemies. Thus, when Mariposa Indians referred to people in the Valley, they commented that some among them (the Paiute) were killers.
12. How cold does it get in Yosemite?
In Yosemite Valley during the winter, average daytime temperatures are 30-55 degrees and 20-35 degrees at night.
It is necessary to carry chains when entering the Sierra from November 1 through March 31. This is a California State Law. You must carry chains when entering an activated chain control area. That means that when chain restrictions are in effect, visitors must be carrying chains in their vehicles to enter the park. Chains may be made mandatory on any park road at any time.